The Association was disappointed to learn that in the final hours of negotiation, the US Wildlife Recovery Act was not included in the final language of the year-end 2023 Omnibus package. The deadlock had little to do with the content of the bill, which has broad support, but time has run out.
This bipartisan legislation would have dedicated $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based Wildlife Action Plans and an additional $97.5 million to tribal fish and wildlife managers to conserve fish. and wildlife on tribal lands and waters. This funding would have allowed state fish and wildlife agencies to implement proactive solutions to conserve more than 12,000 species most in need of conservation and prevent wildlife from becoming threatened or endangered without raising taxes.
“The need for America’s Wildlife Recovery Act is indisputable and the urgency never greater,” said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. . “The fact that this transformative legislation was not included on the omnibus is not a reflection of the value or endorsement of the policy. Bold visions often take time to realize and we will be equally bold in our perseverance for this funding solution for our fish and wildlife and future generations.”
“The Association is very grateful for the unwavering effort and unprecedented commitment of Senator Heinrich, Senator Blunt, Congresswoman Dingell, and the conservation community to get the America’s Wildlife Recovery Act signed into law in the 117th Congress.” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and past president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Although we didn’t cross the finish line this year, we look forward to continuing the conversation in the New Year.”
“The bipartisan America’s Wildlife Recovery Act is the most important wildlife legislation in half a century, and we must find a way to pass it. The landmark legislation will empower states, tribes and territories to ensure that the full diversity of fish, wildlife and plants thrives for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Inaction is the ally of extinction, and we will continue to push tirelessly to ensure the bill does not meet the same fate faced by thousands of species of wildlife and plants.”
“It has been an epic year for the RAWA, with positive action in both the US House of Representatives and Senate,” said Ron Regan, RAWA Executive Director. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Unfortunately, as close as we got to the goal line, it didn’t quite work. As disappointing as it is, we will be back in the ring in the new year and continue to advocate for broader and sustained funding on behalf of state fish and wildlife agencies. Our thanks to Senators Heinrich and Blunt and Representative Dingell for their truly remarkable, vibrant, rich and incredible leadership, and to the many conservation partners across the country for their unwavering support of this legacy bill.” Added Regan: “Given all the goodwill and support for RAWA in both chambers and across parties, I sincerely hope Congress works quickly into the new year, right from the start, to make this legislation a reality as soon as possible. ”
The Association would like to show our gratitude to our champions, Senators Heinrich, Senator Blunt, Congresswoman Dingell, the more than 200 members of Congress who cosponsored the United States Wildlife Recovery Act, and our many partners and friends. conservationists who worked tirelessly to pass the bill. The US Wildlife Recovery Act remains the most impactful wildlife conservation bill in a generation and has the support of more than 70% of Americans. Our current funding model can no longer keep up with the needs of the full variety of fish and wildlife in this country, nearly a third of which are most at risk of extinction. The Association will continue to work to get a modern wildlife conservation funding bill passed in the New Year.
These critical efforts have been supported by the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife, whose purpose is to create a 21st century funding model for critically needed conservation of our nation’s most precious natural resources, our fish and wildlife. This effort built on the strong partnership created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, which consists of members representing the outdoor recreation, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private homeowners, educational institutions, sports and other conservation organizations, and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies— the organization representing North America’s fish and wildlife agencies — promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks out on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.orgon Facebook /Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and on twitter @fishwildlife.